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Cultured Pearls Versus Freshwater Pearls | Pearls Shown Above are All Freshwater

Throughout history, pearls have been treasured in practically every civilization imaginable. One of the reasons why pearls are adorned and coveted is for their beauty. As pearls earned their reputation as a treasure, they were also used as currency. The most valued pearls are the roundest, largest, cleanest and most lustrous pearls. Japanese Akoya pearls are the roundest and most lustrous pearls in the world. These saltwater pearls come from oysters inhabiting the oceans of the world.

Freshwater pearls, on the other hand, are the product of mussels that inhabit freshwater lakes and rivers. Technically, if colored freshwater pearls were the largest, roundest and most lustrous pearls in the world, they could be worth as much as saltwater. Freshwater pearls can be round or irregular in their shapes and exhibit unusual colors. Supply and demand also contribute to the value of pearls. There is a plethora of freshwater pearls available each year-unlike saltwater pearls, whose perfectly round shapes and mirror-like luster make them a true paragon.

The difference in availability of freshwater pearls vs. saltwater pearls is why the former are so affordable. Whereas saltwater pearls are investment grade quality, most freshwater pearls are closer to commercial-quality jewelry in their prices. Regardless of their price or rarity, freshwater pearls are nonetheless beautiful. And when it comes to choosing between a freshwater pearl vs. saltwater pearl, the economical price can be a deciding factor for many customers.